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I can't count now how many times during my work at SabeeApp, I've heard a customer say "I don't think we need a channel manager, we are a small hotel / we have just a few apartments / we are connected just to one channel...". However, all what it took for them to change their mind, is to try a Channel Manager feature at least for a week. None of them went back to a manual work updating inventory and pricing.
❗ To be exact, small accommodation providers must be absolutely correct and precise with their availabilities online. If property has 2 or 3 rooms, then there is no place to move the guests around in case of overbooking. Bigger properties can play moving a guest to a different room type if needed, but if property is small, you have to deal with it right away. And overbookings for such properties can generate a negative review online. Having a Channel Manager can prevent for such mistakes and guarantee a smooth work at any time of the day.
🕑 This also brings another important point, that reservations are coming in 24/7. Most small properties does not have a 24 hours shift, meaning that someone has to block calendars right away. One of our customers (who actually has only 3 rooms), told me that since they have a Channel Manager, they finally can sleep at night. Before that, they used to sleep with one eye open, in case a fax or e-mail comes with the reservation and they needed to get up in the middle of the night and block the relative room in all sales channels.
😣 Small accommodations are usually run by family or just one person. This means, that a lot of multitasking is involved and people simply might not have time for such tasks as inventory update. Reservations get cancelled or modified quite often, so it requires additional attention form a person, who is already most probably busy with check-in of the guest or room cleaning after departure. Doing work in a rush can also include mistakes which would cause problems in the future.
💰 For smaller properties it is more complicated to compete in online presence. However, being visible in more sales channels and being present there with accurate, real-time information, can guarantee you more reservations. More reservations = more income!
There are many details to which you should pay attention when choosing the right Channel Manager for your business. Nowadays there are so many solutions available that you need to know exactly what you're looking for and then just scan all the possibilities until you find the right one. But these check points might be helpful in your research:
➢ Integration. This is one of the first and most important points where you should pay special attention. Make sure, that your Channel manager integrates with PMS that you are using or it can become a part of your booking engine. The best would be to find an All-in-one solution where these 3 parts are already integrated and working as one (for example, SabeeApp 😊)
➢ OTA selection. Check the list of the OTAs that you can connect via that particular channel manager. Maybe you will see a new possibilities with channels, where you had no chance to reach certain markets before.
➢ OTA handling. If you have more than once account per channel, can this be handled with your channel manager? How many different channels can you handle at once? Is there a limit or an additional pay per channel?
➢ Reporting. Most probably you want to know how you are doing with your online sales. For this purpose, you need to make sure that your Channel Manager will provide you with the most important reports (which channels were most popular, which brought in most income, and which channels are not worth to keep).
➢ Ease of use. Will someone teach you how to use your new tool? Will you be the one dealing with connections to OTAs or Channel Manager providers will do the connections? Will you have a support?
➢ Informativeness. What information will be coming in from the channel once the reservation will be made? Will it include additional services? Credit card details? Guest contacts and comments?
➢ Complexity. Does this provider fit to your property type? E.g. some Channel Managers are more focused on hotels so it will not have necessary tools that are needed by apartment rentals. Can you handle your prices through this provider? Does it support multiple rate plans and special offers?
➢ Quality. You should look for a Channel Manager which has a good rating or is a preferred connectivity partner of some of the channels.
According to Forbes (Competitive Landscape Of The U.S. Online Travel Market Is Transforming), around 95% of all bookings are generated by OTAs. This is a big number to be carried out manually. From my experience working with SabeeApp, I can see how people benefit once they start using Channel Manager. In my opinion, there is no such a thing as being too small for a Channel Manager. It is a matter of comfort, automation and precision. Sometimes, it is a matter of a mindset that property owner has to change. First people thought that their business is too small for a PMS system. But slowly they realised that managing even 2 rooms (apartments) on paper notebook is not a solution. So if they are not too small to switch to a PMS, then they are definitely ready to enjoy the benefits of Channel Management.
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